Educating Clients

To get the best out of website design, clients should be informed. I’ve always thought so anyway but now I wonder whether I should bother.

alfredenewmanWhy not dumb down everything? Just provide a smart but simple website.

That’s it. Don’t confuse clients with the facts. I don’t think clients want educating – it’s just a website isn’t it?? YOU sort it out.

Educating requires time, adds complications and therefore adds cost to the thing.

However, there is a thing called professional pride and the need to do your best for your client. Whether he wants it or not.

There’s always the thought of course that your client will hold you in higher regard if you treat him to a Web 101 seminar. This effect is seen in many website designers websites – they feel that they have to go on, and on, and on about their knowledge – or lack of it – of things web.

With the average website, there are so many things – simple things – that can be done to improve it. Testimonials, client lists, newsletters are some of the improvements that can be easily added but never come up in client specs.

Although such things can be added later, you run the risk of appearing to the client that you’re upselling.

Perhaps its better to design a website that includes all the elements that you feel should be there – but don’t tell the client beforehand.

Prioritizing Website Design Enquiries

Enquiries for website design come in several categories.

The full spec – an attachment with either an outline or spec for a website. Sometimes you can see that the spec is actually several, cobbled together.

The short descriptive email  – not anywhere near enough information and requires fleshing out.

The simple ‘I’m looking for a website’ email. Completely inadequate.

Finally, the ‘Do you do websites?’ ‘Sent from my Blackberry’. Worse that useless and never replied to. If he’s considering a website whilst sitting in a coffee shop, he’s not serious.

Often the best is the initial email enquiry. The ‘full spec’ folk often get it wrong and will not change. Also there’s probably a preferred supplier but they had to put out the spec so don’t hold your breath.

I always phone back – or ask for a phone number if there is one – because the prospect can hear me (may not be a plus!) and I can hear them and get a much better idea of what they want as well as some background information.

Also forget those people who give you their email address over the phone – it’s always gonna bounce!